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978-1-64317-258-3 (paperback, $16.99); 978-1-64317-259-0 (PDF, $9.99); 978-1-64317-260-6 (EPUB, $9.99) © 2022 by Parlor Press. 167 pages.
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What People Are Saying
"This collection drops a boulder into the still waters of British poetry. It is wide-ranging, hard-hitting, and above all ambitious, both in vision and variety of poetic forms. Norris moves rhythmically through politics, philosophy, and science always with an eye for the particular, always in pursuit of the bigger picture. He has an extraordinary ability to blow the dust off our habitual perceptions, charge up our minds and make the language sing. He finds live connections between an anchorite and our own boxed existence, he quarrels with T. S. Eliot and jokes about endorphins. Each poem stands for what we are in danger of losing; our intelligence, our learning, our feeling, our connection with history, and with each other. The volume is one of those points of light that Auden said the just exchange with one another; so read and pass the word: here are poems to sustain in the dark times and give us hope for the future. ” ——Gary Day, author of Literary Criticism: A New History
“These poems eschew the confessional laxity and structural imprecision that typify so much contemporary verse. Christopher Norris takes seriously Ezra Pound’s dictum that poetry should be at least as well written as good prose while exceeding that basic requirement through a range of expressive and formal-prosodic resources. His poems are unfailingly dynamic, the sense hard-won from rigorous forms which at times serve an almost dialogical function, nuancing assertions and scotching simple conclusions. These are the values that Norris here exemplifies in verse that is at once an eloquent present-day defense of poetry and, by implication, a searching critique of various turns in its development over the past half-century. ” —Niall Gildea, author of Jacques Derrida’s Cambridge Affair
These poems were written during the period 2018 and 2021 and some of them bear witness to its hectic, politically divisive, and often tumultuous character. Others fall under a range of generic descriptors such as verse-essay, verse-epistle, meditation, elegy, lyric (non-confessional), song, anthem (secular), dramatic monologue, verse-dialogue, satire, polemic, and lament. They are, for the most part, pointedly ‘formalist’ in the sense that they deploy – and delight in deploying – rhyme and meter along with a great many verse-forms, structures, and prosodic devices by way of getting their point across. They imply (or implicate) a reader who comes to them with intellectual as well as emotional faculties fully engaged and who doesn’t, as with so much contemporary verse, allow feeling to subdue any active concern with their formal and thematic aspects. The aim throughout is to combine verse-music with syntax and structure in a way that rejoins poetic discourse to certain prose virtues that have been marginalized or devalued from the advent of Romanticism to the heyday of Modernism. Norris’s collection thus strives to satisfy Ezra Pound’s not always self-heeded dictum that poetry should be “at least as well written as prose.” But he also brings out the manifold ways in which formal verse offers expressive, inventive, and technical resources beyond the reach of prose discourse. This volume will be welcomed by philosophically minded poetry readers as much as by philosophers and literary theorists familiar with Norris’s many influential works in those fields.
About the Author
CHRISTOPHER NORRIS is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cardiff in Wales. He has published more than thirty books on topics in philosophy, literary theory, the history of ideas, cultural politics, and musical criticism. Socrates at Verse and Other Philosophical Poems was published by Parlor Press in 2021.
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